New Hampshire is home to more than 1,000 lakes and ponds and over 40,000 miles of rivers and streams. These natural resources are important for many reasons… they provide important wildlife habitat and a vast array of year-round recreational opportunities, and they contribute to local economies and the overall economy of New Hampshire.
Unfortunately, our waterbodies in New Hampshire and throughout the country are under attack from invading aquatic invasive species. Plants like variable milfoil and animals like zebra mussels cause serious problems. Not only do they crowd out native plants and animals in our waterbodies, they affect people by fouling boating, swimming and fishing areas and reducing shoreline property values and tourism.
Aquatic invasive species can be spread between waterbodies on boating, fishing, and recreational equipment that has not been cleaned, drained, and dried before being used in another waterbody. The good news is boaters, including canoeists and kayakers, can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by always remembering to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” their vessels, trailers, and recreational gear before launching into and after taking out of a waterbody. Here’s how:
Before boating and before leaving the launch, remove all visible plants and other debris from your boat, trailer, and other recreational gear, and dispose of it in a trash container.
After boating and before leaving the launch, drain water from bilge, live wells, and bait buckets.
Before boating again, dry the boat, trailer, and other equipment and recreational gear that has come in contact with water. At least five days of drying time is recommended. And, if possible, rinse your boat and gear off after every use – the hotter and higher the pressure of the water, the better. Ensure that rinse water does not enter surface waters. (Commercial hot water car washes work well.)